Monday, March 26, 2012

Swallow This – “The Asocial Network!”

*A word of Caution –

 People who start their day with face booking, spend half of their office time in posting, liking and commenting on social networks and end their evenings by using their status updates to write ‘Good night friends’ or other such predictable lines, hope you have a strong digestive system, ‘cause, Dheeraj Kumar, the Jamshedpur born IITian and debut author takes a bow and claps for himself as we gape open mouthed while he rips us apart with his musings on our behavior in the real and online world.

Here is a book that I tried my best to disagree with. However, in the end I could not help but nod my head, albeit slowly, secretly and silently. Based on his keen sense of observation of human frailties, the author explores, discusses and candidly expresses his thoughts on how online social networks especially Facebook, cleverly took advantage of our basic and inherent need to be appreciated, admired, thanked and portray a ‘larger than life’ image and  got all of us hook, line and sinker into brushing our teeth while checking our notifications for the number of ‘likes’ we received for our ‘just – 5- minutes- back’, posted clever one liner.

In the process, however, Zukerberg also joined the top 20 richest on Forbes 400.   But who cares about him. We care about us. Our image. Our popularity. Our number of friends…all in the virtual world. Err…in reality we could be…someone whose social network is limited to his wife and her side of the family.
Of course, there are areas in the book (to my delight), that can be hotly debated,   Please feel free to take advantage of the situation and give him your mouthful. Dheeraj, that is for being so nastily right in most of your observations/deductions.

Just to give you a fair idea let me give you some sample lines from the book. And mind you such provocative statements/questions are evenly sprinkled throughout the book -

"Perhaps we are all unsatisfied with the one real life we are all blessed with?"

“We are all deprived of an audience; we are unsatisfied with the normal course of events that fill our days.”

“Why do I need to know what moods my friends are in and what small wonders they are performing in their daily lives?”  -  “…’feeling awesome’, ‘taking off home’, ‘feeling bored,’ proud father of six babies’”   

“Why this urgency to come up with something new when your old post is still in the public place, although it may require some scrolling down. It is like trying to outsmart all your friends by coming up with something new”

“The human mind is not capable of maintaining friendship with more than 50 friends at a time. We are simply not designed to communicate with so many people all at once.”
I think I will spare us the pain. This is too much. I agree.

However, Google, Twitter, Orkut and others have not been spared too. But since FB is the biggest fish of them all, he has focused most of his energies in deep frying the people on it first.

On the brighter side though, Dheeraj has also discussed very important issues like future of the online and social networking world, its benefits, impacts and the mega transformation it would bring in our communities online and offline.   

 He has highlighted the above by discussing questions like -

Who would own it?

How will it impact our daily lives? (Buying vegetables online or automated messaging service that can be activated when the customer wants to send say an apology to his wife).

How Employer – employee relationship will undergo a huge change. Where the employees, would  actually render their services on an hourly basis and would also be in huge demand. (I quite like this idea, actually. We will finally learn to value each other’s time).

What would be its benefits and  usage in doing business in an open, friendly environment? 
And here is the best deduction of all…as per the author, in the 22nd century ‘the lure of gizmo gazettes would finally give way to the aesthetic desires of people.’ People will finally get bored of the virtual world and prefer connecting with each other face to face. Wow!. Am surely waiting for that to happen…simply 'cause I am not too comfortable around these new gadgets/ machines or even the web. It’s a small wonder that I was able to create my own blog without any help. Not that it looks great or anything. But at least, I did it on my own. So Dheeraj, thank you for this insightful and futuristic thoughts. Hope it comes true. And sooner the better.

 Towards the end he has left us wondering again with his simple question-
Is networking good or bad?’

No wait!  Before you answer that, read the book and then draw your conclusions.

As for me…I am still mighty confused. For me FB is a great tool to reach out to my readers, connect with other writers, publishers et al  yet I can't deny the fact that it is addictive. But one thing’s for sure, next time I will be cautious not to write updates like – ‘I had a bad day.’ ‘On cloud nine.’ You get the drift…!

But Dheeraj am still not going to stop writing my catchphrase - Keep smiling. J HA!


  1. Indeed a thought provoking good read.

  2. I'll have to see whether the writer is there or not. Lol.

    1. He does exist. Check him out on my FB friend list:). Thank you for stopping by.